Park after Dark is a big event for the park, attracting families for hay rides, Trunk R Treat, s’mores, face painting and lots more. More than 2000 people attended last year. It’s not a fundraiser, but a community event. To promote it, in addition to the posts on social media, we distribute flyers to the nearby elementary schools. As in past years, 6000 flyers were ordered. We contacted 8 nearby schools to get their requirements for class sizes and how the packs of flyers should be broken down. Typically, they are in numbers of 20 to 35. The goal is to deliver them in time for the schools to pass them out one week in advance. To speed the re-packaging, we were told the flyers would be delivered separated in groups of 25. That would make the process much simpler.
However, due to communications difficulties, the flyers didn’t arrive in the park until Thursday afternoon of the week they were supposed to be delivered to the school. For most schools, that meant we would be delayed a week in getting them out. But they would still get out before the festival. Not too bad.
When we opened the box mid-afternon on Thursday, we were surprised to see the packages shrink-wrapped into 25’s. That was great for a school that wanted 25 per pack, but what about the school that wanted 38 packs of 30 or 20 packs of 20. Cathy scrambled to break open the shrink wrap and re-assemble the packages as required as Dave drove from school to school and delivered the packages. With our late start on Thursday, we only made 6 of the 8 schools. Friday morning we delivered the last 2 and reported back to the park with the remaining flyers.
However, Owen from the Friends group happened to meet us at the Park Office and was concerned about the schools we didn’t get to. After a bit of discussion, he decided to order 3000 more from a local printer for the 3 schools remaining, one of which needed 50 packs of 25. When Owen told us the printer was going to separate them by 100’s, we realized we had a ton of work on our hands, counting out packs of 20, 25 and 30. This was going to take most of the day. On Monday morning, we stopped by the printer early to pick up the flyers and get started. But we found that they hadn’t started the order yet, but were perfectly willing to separate them into the quantities each school required. To our delight, we arrived to pick them up a couple of hours later with them packaged by school with separators in the quantity needed for each school. What would have taken all day took only about an hour. But now, with all of these flyers out in circulation, the likelihood that the attendance would increase dramatically was pretty great.
With 2 park hosts for the month of October, the regular golf cart was already being used. We were given permission to use the golf cart typically reserved for the park shuttle. This cart had some long-deferred maintenance required, which Dave set out to remedy. The first problem was the wiring for the headlight, which had been replaced over the summer. However, the wire had been run over the hood and attached to the hood by electrical tape. Dave’s first project was to route this inside the dash. Next he started diagnosing the tail and signal lights, none of which worked. He was quickly able to power up the tail lights, so that they came on with the headlight. In the process, he managed to get the lighted switch that powered them to light up by simply attaching the ground wire.
However, the turn signals required a new switch. Also, the required flashing yellow light for a slow-moving vehicle was missing and there was no rear view mirror. These would require some purchases.
Finally, the rear view mirror arrived. It was a generic rear view mirror that would need to have a custom bracket made. Working with Ed in Maintenance, he found an L bracket that could be modified to work. Ed cut it to fit, drilled holes to align with the frame and smoothed the rough edges. Once painted, Dave was able to mount it to the frame and the mirror to the bracket. Now, driving the slow-moving cart down the road, we could see traffic approaching from behind and get out of the way.
As you can tell, our host duties have us doing lots of different tasks. We continue to scrape and paint the cabins to get a jump on Cabin Work Week, although the other park host Joe is making the more steady progress. We focused our efforts on the lodge where the team will gather to eat lunches. By power-washing and staining the deck, this work would be out of the way when the building would be most heavily used.
We took time out from host duties to get together with friends for dinner, which included Steve and Linda as they passed through, former volunteer coordinator Andi and her husband Max, and our fellow hosts in the campground. On one of these occasions, we had cake and ice cream to celebrate Cathy’s birthday.
And then on Park After Dark weekend, Bonnie and Troy and the kids camped in the park. We enjoyed spending a beautiful fall day with them and enjoying some dutch oven cooking before we headed off to work the event. It was a great time.